To me, a gift is more than the essence of tissue paper and ribbon or the element of surprise. A thoughtful gift reflects the giver and his initiative to make a meaningful connection, to share something of himself, always with the benefit of the receiver in mind.
In September 2010, my mom penned some words inside a little book, her birthday gift to me.
She gave me two gifts, really. Her words of affirmation written in the flyleaf, which I treasure more than ever now that she's gone. And the words of Ken Gire in his book, Windows of the Soul.
It's not only what Mr. Gire writes, but how he writes that had my attention from the start. His chapters have nudged me to pause, to take the time to open my eyes, to see beyond the obvious. "Windows of the soul is where God finds us, or where we find Him . . . . He comes to us where we are, speaks to us in our own language, calls us by our name" (page 236).
Mom, through sharing an author she enjoyed, gave me a precious gift, a shared experience. It's a nice feeling to know she and I have read the same words, some of them over and over. Like this story:
Today I [went] to the tracks to pick up a small joy unclaimed from my childhood.
I put a line of pennies on the polished rail and returned later to find them all thin as aspen leaves. I palmed them all the way back to my office, looking at them with such childlike delight I almost stepped in a mud puddle . . . .Sometimes I feel like those pennies, don't you? Flattened by circumstances, grief, and loss, "thin as aspen leaves." Yet no matter how "defaced" I find myself, I pray people will still be able to recognize the outline of God's image and the In-God-We-Trust reality of my faith.
No matter how defaced the coin, I could still tell it was a penny. I could tell by the copper color and the round shape and by the faint outline of Lincoln's face that somehow survived the train (page 228).
Someday, like my mom, our "faith shall be sight." The ultimate gift, wouldn't you say?